To create an effective merchandising report you need to look beyond looking at what products customers actually purchased, and start collecting information on how well your individual products are converting, based on: how many times individual products are viewed, added to a shopping cart and ultimately purchased.
Out of the box Google Analytics doesn’t have any Merchandising Reports, however, you can use the Event Tracking feature in Google Analytics in order to generate this insight.
The report allows you to answer – which products are visitors most interested in – what do they think is hot right now – which products do visitors need some extra reassurance for before they commit to purchase?
The tracking tags
In order to get these answers you need to add some custom code to your existing Google Analytics script.
Product page code
Use the following code on each of your product pages. The ‘product_name’ element of the tag should be inserted dynamically using your Content Management Solution (CMS).
_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', ‘product’, ‘view’, ‘product_name’]);
Basket page code
Add the following line(s) on your basket page – you’ll need to make this call for each product in the basket. For example, if there are two items in the basket, then this line should be called twice – one for each item.
_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', ‘product’, ‘cart’, ‘product_name’]);
Checkout page code
Add the following code to the first page of your checkout process. Again, you’ll need to make this call for each product in the cart.
_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', ‘product’, ‘checkout’, ‘product_name’]);
Confirmation page code
Finally, on the order confirmation page, you should add the following code. Once again, you’ll need to make this call for each product in the basket.
_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', ‘product’, ‘order, ‘product_name’]);
Where does the code sit?
The code needs to sit in the main Google code before the ‘_trackPageview’ element, as shown below.
The reports will be available within the Event Tracking section inside Google Analytics. If you want to see the overall progress at different stages, you can start with the “Categories” report shown below.
From there, you can drill down into each of the different elements. For example, when I click on ‘View’ this drills down into all the products that visitors have viewed within the specified time period.
If you want a different view, you can go o to the “Labels” report which provides a list of individual products. Select a specific item within the report and see how many times an individual item was viewed, added to cart, checked out and purchased.
Making sence of the reports
Look out for part two of my post where I show you how you can use this data to create a merchandising report within Excel.
One thing to mention isthat Event Tracking generates extra views in your account – which impacts your pageviews and bounce rate data. For example, if a visitor hits a product page and bounces, because you’re using Event Tracking to track the page view event, you won’t be able to see the bounce event take place.